Uber driver attacked, passenger arrested

Uber Driver Attacked: Taco Bell Executive Arrested For Attacking Driver, Fired From Job

An Uber driver was attacked over the weekend following an early morning pickup, and the whole incident was caught on the victim’s dash camera.

The passenger, who was identified by police as 32-year-old Benjamin Golden, requested an Uber ride from a bar in Newport Beach, California, on Friday night. The driver, 23-year-old Edward Caban, said he repeatedly asked Golden for directions, but he was unable to clearly explain where he wanted to go.

The Uber driver said he had a bad feeling about the passenger as soon as he got into his car. He said he refused to put on his seat belt, couldn’t clearly give him directions, and kept drifting in and out of consciousness.

“He was very aggressive. He was swearing at me, he was fading in and out of consciousness,” Caban said.

Eventually, Caban pulled over in a lighted parking lot of a shopping center on the 1800 block of Newport Boulevard. That is when the altercation took place. According to the New York Post, the video shows Golden and Caban arguing over directions before Caban accuses Golden of being too drunk and orders him to get out of his car.

“Get out of my car or I will call the police,” Caban says.

Golden, who was seated directly behind the driver’s seat, opened his door to exit the vehicle. However, rather than getting out of the car, he started repeatedly hitting Caban, shouting expletives at him, and pulling his hair.

“He was grabbing my head and was trying to smash it against the window,” Caban said, according to Today.

Somehow during the attack, Caban was able to get his hands on a can of pepper spray and unleashed it on Golden.

“I turned around and emptied as much of that spray as I could into his face until he got out of the car,” he said. “I wanted to make sure he didn’t get away. I have lost so much money on people like him and I’m done dealing with it. They take the food right out of my mouth.”

Not long after, the police arrived at the scene and arrested Golden. Costa Mesa police Sgt. Jerry Souza said Golden was taken into custody Friday night and booked on misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and assaulting a taxicab operator. Caban shared the dashboard camera video with the police and uploaded a clip of the video, which he said were the final minutes of the assault on YouTube. The video has since been viewed over 500,000 times.

On Saturday night, Uber spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said Golden had been permanently banned from using their service. Golden, who worked for Taco Bell Corp. as a marketing manager for the Irvine-based company, has also been fired from his job.

“Given the behavior of the individual, it is clear he can no longer work for us. We have also offered and encouraged him to seek professional help,” the company said in a statement.

Caban said he has been driving for Uber since July. While he has had trouble out of other passengers, he said this is the first time he has ever been physically attacked.

“Unfortunately, when the incident happened, it was at 8:00 at night and I was just about to call it a night,” Caban said. “I didn’t think that something like this would happen this early in the night. I stopped driving these 2 a.m. shifts a long time ago, for this very reason.”

Caban also said he will be looking for another job, as he does not feel safe driving for the company anymore.

[Photo via Twitter]

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